The purpose of this study was to delineate optimal age to perform unilateral or bilateral cleft lip repair in premature patients. The American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program Pediatric data set was queried for unilateral and bilateral cleft lip repairs performed between 2012 and 2017. Complications, readmissions, and reoperations were analyzed in the context of prematurity with appropriate statistics. Degree of prematurity was significantly associated with adverse events (p = 0.001, rs = 0.44). Premature patients with unilateral cleft lip had a significantly decreased risk of adverse events when performing cleft lip repair after 150 days of age [OR, 18.1; p = 0.004; before cutoff, n = 10 of 140 (7.1 percent); after cutoff, n = 0 of 112 (0.0 percent)] in the absence of other risk factors. Premature patients with bilateral cleft lip had a significantly decreased risk of adverse events when performing cleft lip repair after 175 days of age (OR, 16.1; p = 0.010; before cutoff, n = 7 of 33 (21.2 percent); after cutoff, n = 0 of 28 (0.0 percent)] in the absence of other risk factors.
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